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Autism becoming recognized issue in South Africa

Updated: Saturday, August 3, 2013 |
Autism becoming recognized issue in South Africa story image
SOUTH AFRICA (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - While autism is widely recognized in the United States, other countries are just beginning to address the problem, and in South Africa, some people believe autism is linked to witchcraft.

One in 88 South Africans is born with autism, and getting treatment can be difficult.

Instead of doctors, many people recommend that parents bring their children to an exorcist.

The South African government only officially recognized autism two months ago.

Now, advocates say the next step is to invest money in treating the disorder.

"Now we want specifically for kids with autism to be catered for so that they can live normal lives," said Lumka Olifant, with the Department of Social Development.

Despite the half-million South Africans thought to have autism, officials say there are only a few doctors in the country specialized to diagnose and treat the disorder.
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